Can Yücel (1926, İstanbul - 1999 Datça) was one of the most distinguished Turkish poets of the 20th century. He was noted for his use of plain and sincere (and sometimes rude) language in his poems.
Issued from a deep-rooted family, he was the son of a former Minister of National Education, Hasan Ali Yücel who left his mark on the history of education in Turkey, and a grandchild of an Ottoman sea captain who perished with the frigate Ertuğrul.
Can Yücel studied Latin and Ancient Greek in Ankara and Cambridge Universities. He later worked as translator in several embassies and in the Turkish language section of the BBC in London. After his return to Turkey in 1958, he briefly worked as a tourist guide in Bodrum and Marmaris, and then lived in Istanbul where he worked as a freelance translator and started writing poetry.
In his later years he settled in the remote peninsular town of Datça in southwestern Turkey. He died in Datça in 1999 and is buried there. His tomb is much visited. He had two daughters, Güzel and Su, and a son, Hasan, from his marriage to Güler Yücel.
Can Yücel was known for often using slang
, and sometimes vulgar
language, in his poems. However, even his critics agreed that his skill in using words in a simple and understandable way is worthy of praise and appreciation. The main themes and inspirational sources in his poems are nature, people, events, concepts, excitements, perceptions and emotions. His family was of utmost importance to him and his loved ones are mentioned in many of his poems, such as "To my Little Daughter Su", "To Güzel", and "I Loved My Father the Most in Life".
Yücel also translated the works of Shakespeare, Lorca and Brecht into Turkish and his creative rendering of these authors are classics of their own right in Turkey .